Dorset

Behind schedule Poole Bridge reopening in question

Poole Bridge Image copyright David Dixon
Image caption The lifting bridge first opened in 1927

No date is currently planned for the reopening of a lifting bridge that is already seven months behind schedule.

Poole Bridge closed in September 2016 for £4.2m works, and had originally been expected to reopen in June.

In December, the borough council said it hoped it would reopen by Christmas.

The authority said it is now unable to give a reopening date. Contractor Interserve said alleged financial difficulties at the firm were not the cause of the delays.

The council declined to comment on Interserve's financial matters.

Image copyright Borough of Poole Council
Image caption Work on the bridge started in September 2016

Previous hold-ups to the reopening of the crossing, linking the town centre to the port and ferry terminal, have included delays in the delivery of materials and parts, as well as adverse weather conditions.

A spokesman for Interserve said: "We are confident that we will complete the Poole Bridge scheme and are working closely with the Borough of Poole to overcome challenges around commissioning of the bridge."

Julian McLaughlin, from Borough of Poole, apologised for the inconvenience to residents and said the council was "very conscious of the impact of the ongoing delay".

"Please be reassured that the council is doing everything in its power to get the bridge re-opened at the earliest opportunity," he continued.

"This can only be done once we have received clear assurances from Interserve, confirmed that it is safe to re-open it to the travelling public as well as ensuring that all relevant commissioning and contractual requirements have been met.

"Given the previous uncertainty on the part of the contractor in terms of delivery timescale, we are unfortunately not in a position to announce a re-opening date today."

If the bridge reopens before the end of the month the council said it will face further weekday closures from 29 January until 13 February for the removal of some temporary timber decking and installation of permanent timber panels.

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